Speeding cameras to go up in Portales

Mar. 18—Technology will soon be helping police crack down on speeders in Portales. And violators can expect to see citations arriving in the mail before the year is out.

Police Chief Chris Williams said the city will be installing about 10 radar-video cameras around town sometime this fall.

The camera can read time and distance and will take a picture of the signage as well as the violator vehicle and license plate, Williams said.

Speeders caught in the act can expect to receive a letter in the mail about a week after the violation.

Cost for the infraction?

"There will always be a flat rate of $100," the chief said.

"We definitely would not do citations for 1 to 5 (mph) over the speed limit," he said. But exceeding a speed limit by 6 mph or more — in a school zone or anywhere else where the cameras will be on duty — will cost motorists a C-note.

Portales City Manager Sarah Austin said it's unknown yet as to what percentage the company will receive from each citation. "We have to decide on which option we want to go with," she said on Friday.

City officials said they did not know how much revenue the city could be expected to generate from the citations. "We're not looking to make money," Williams said.

Williams told city councilors on Feb. 28 that 311 vehicle crashes were reported in the city limits in 2020. Last year, the city saw 364 crashes; 306 were reported in 2021.

Speed was a contributing factor in many of those accidents.

West Second Street. and Avenue B, U.S. 70 and Kilgore, and U.S. 70 all the way through town have routinely produced the most significant speed violations, the chief said.

Several school zones also have proved to be problem areas in the city. Officers at Brown Early Childhood Center, Valencia Elementary, and Portales Junior High have recently recorded vehicles traveling up to 47 mph — 30 mph over the limit.

At First Street and Avenue B, the officials have recorded a motorist traveling 74 mph in a 25-mph zone. And at Chicago and Brazos, a speeder was clocked at 89 mph in a 25-mph zone.

"Hopefully we'll keep people a little more cognizant of what's going on," Williams said.

He said the cameras would help assist officers on shift by providing another set of eyes.

"When we have seven school zones, and if we have two or three officers on shift, you know, you can't be everywhere at once," he said.

School zones will all see cameras installed, Williams said, along with the other areas where speeders are most prevalent.

The chief said motorists will be reminded, via social media and other means, about the speed cameras once they're installed.